Sometimes it’s tough being Dick Fuld.
The former Lehman Brothers chief executive, who ran one of the largest Wall Street firms before its 2008 collapse, decided to end his two-year tenure at Legend Securities amid mounting regulatory scrutiny concerning his role at the small brokerage firm, FOX Business Network has learned.
The problem for Fuld centered on regulators continued questioning of how much business he was generating at the firm and Fuld’s inability to obtain brokerage licenses from state regulators, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Anthony Fusco, the chief executive of Legend Securities, would neither confirm nor deny the circumstances behind Fuld’s departure. Fuld didn’t return telephone calls or an email placed through his attorney.
Fuld is one of Wall Street’s most controversial players. Known as the “gorilla” for his tough management style, he spent nearly 30 years in the business, all of them at Lehman Brothers, rising to the position of CEO as he built the firm into one of Wall Street’s largest.
But Lehman’s September 2008 collapse, and his role in the firm’s demise, remains a stain on his record. Lehman’s bankruptcy sparked the broader collapse the nation’s financial system and many blame Fuld for the firm’s business model that focused on taking big risks in real estate.
Since then, Fuld has been the focus of numerous regulatory probes over his actions during the firm’s final days, but as Fox Business was first to report, regulators are unlikely to file charges.
Even so, Fuld has become somewhat of a pariah on Wall Street for his handling of Lehman’s demise. In May of 2010 he finally landed a job, when he registered with securities regulators as being an employee of a little-known brokerage firm called Legend Securities, which describes itself as “a full-service brokerage and investment banking firm providing services to high net worth individuals as well as corporate clients,” according to its website.
People who know Fuld tell FOX Business that the controversy surrounding his days at Lehman made it difficult for Fuld to get a job at a more established outfit, and as it turns out, keep his job at Legend, which according to regulatory filings he left in September of last year.
People with direct knowledge of the matter say Fuld faced difficulty obtaining state licenses to conduct brokerage business; in addition to federal licenses, securities professionals must also gain approval from state regulators.
Fuld had very little success snaring clients or deals for Legend, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Not having a state license to operate in places like New York made it even more difficult for Fuld to generate business.
Officials at Legend soon faced mounting pressure from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to explain Fuld’s role at the firm, these people say. A FINRA spokeswoman had no comment.
Regulators have begun to crack down on the practice of “parking” where firms allow a broker to be listed as an employee in name only, and not generate business.
For Fuld, leaving Legend means if he wants to remain in the securities business he must find another place of employment or he risks losing his FINRA registration as a securities professional. Under regulatory guidelines, he has two years to find another job at a registered broker dealer from the date he left Legend.
Charles Gasparino joined FOX Business Network (FBN) in February 2010 as Senior Correspondent.